Our Vision

The Bwoga Elementary Library (BEL) will help instill among the inhabitants of Bwoga, especially the children, the desire to be lifelong learners. This would, in the end, help the people of Bwoga develop the knowledge not only to address the community’s trans-generational hunger but also poverty and social stigma challenges.

Our Mission

The mission of the Bwoga Elementary Library (BEL) initiative is to build a library in Bwoga (a small village in western Uganda) and equip it with books, computers, and staff so that Bwoga children may have a resourceful place where they can access books, and other opportunities to help them develop useful life skills.

All About Bwoga Elementary Library – BEL Initiative

The BEL initiative was founded in 2018 by Peter Agaba, Isaac Ahimbisibwe, Sarah Kimeu, and Joseph Kimeu. The idea of a library initiative arose when the four were reflecting on their personal experiences growing up. Sarah and her brothers (Peter & Isaac) grew up in Bwoga, a rural village in southwestern Uganda, while Joseph (Sarah’s husband) grew up in Ikombe, a rural village in southeastern Kenya. All the four received support from organizations and people of goodwill enabling them to join elite primary and secondary boarding schools (away from their villages), and later to join reputable colleges and universities in the United States. However, similar educational opportunities were/are not available to many children in Bwoga. Consequently, the four believed that a library initiative such as BEL would be an important educational resource, and a catalyst for transformational change in the Bwoga community. With support from many Friends of BEL, construction of the library began in August 2021 and was completed in December 2023. In addition to “summer” reading programs at the library, the BEL initiative runs other projects, including a BEL Scholarship Fund for deserving Bwoga children. A brief timeline is given below.

BEL cofounders initiated a meeting with community leaders to introduce the idea of a community library and seek their insights on how to engage the Bwoga community.
Construction of the library began with the laying of the foundation
With library construction still in progress, the BEL Scholarship Fund was established to supports deserving Bwoga kids (e.g., orphans) who would otherwise not be able to go to school. The fund covers tuition and school supplies for these children. Initially, we started with 10 students, but the number has since grown. The 10 students are pictured below, accompanied by 2 BEL community leaders, Ms. Kansiime on the left, and Ms. Hilda on the right.
BEL initiated a 4-week summer/holiday reading program to address student-curriculum-gaps (especially following the 2019 Covid pandemic) and teach essential life skills. In the picture below, BEL mentors are meeting (via zoom) with Bwoga children on their last day of the pilot summer/holiday reading program (May 2022).

EL launched the Community Moms Basket Weaving project. The project brings together women from the Bwoga community to chat, weave baskets and create other crafts for sale. The women in turn get funds to pay school fees and meet other basic needs. The picture below (L) shows community moms weaving baskets inside the unfinished library (Feb. 2023). On the right are some of the moms’ baskets at Sarah’s place in Louisville, Kentucky.

BEL established a BEL Kids Louisville. The project aims at helping children of East African descent (living in Louisville, Kentucky) learn African drumming and other cultures. The picture below shows BEL kids Louisville after performing at the GlobalLou festival 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. GlobaLou festival is held annually to celebrate cultural diversity in the city of Louisville.
Construction was completed, and the library was officially opened to the Bwoga community. The opening ceremony was a joyous occasion, filled with great energy and excitement.